Land Ownership in the Monarch Sanctuary Region
About the Ejido System

Although the Mexican government has legally designated the monarch sanctuaries as protected land, most of this land is privately owned by groups of people called ejidos (say "a-hee-dos"). In Mexico, an ejido refers to a community of people who share ownership of their land.

A person who is a member of an ejido is called an "ejiditario." There is a fixed number of ejiditarios in each ejido. That is, a set number of members share ownership of the land. An ejido membership is passed to another family member upon death of a member.

The leader of an ejido is called the "comissario." This leader is elected, and can speak on behalf of the community.

In the dictionary, the Spanish word "ejido" means "commons."

Who Owns the Sierra Chincua Monarch Sanctuary?

Click to see map.

This map of the Sierrra Chincua sanctuary shows all of the different ejidos who own sanctuary land.

  • How many different ejidos can you count that own land in the Sierra Chincua Sanctuary?

Journaling Questions

  • Are you surprised that the land in the sanctuaries is owned privately, rather than by the government?
  • Do you think it's fair that private land owners are asked to protect their land for monarchs instead of using it for their own economic needs? Why might this be difficult for people in the monarch region?
  • Can you find examples in your own town, state/province or country where the government wants to protect private land for conservation? How do the private landowners feel about this? How are they compensated?

National Geography Standards

Environment and Society
The changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution, and importance of resources.